Last post on Jan 14, 2009 at 8:38 PM
You are in the Toyota Avalon
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Toyota Avalon, Steering, Sedan
#14 of 67 Steering Gear Rack
Dec 02, 2003 (6:39 pm)
The 97 Avalon has a fragile front end. Mine had 52,000 on it this past April when I was told the steering gear rack had to be replaced. I have had several Nisson Maximas, driven also here in New Engand conditions for 8 to 10 years each with out any suspension/steering problems. This same Avalon had the front strut mounts replaced a year earlier. I am a senior citizen who drives carefully and I was not very happy at these two major repairs. I had bought the car from the servicing dealer and I had also bought a 2002 Sequoia Ltd from them.I reminded them of this.At my request they contacted some regional Toyota rep. and they discounted the rack 50%. The total bill for the rack/labor/oil change and aligning all four wheels was $742. The discounted rack was$407.
#15 of 67 '97 Avalon Steering Rack
Dec 02, 2003 (8:28 pm)
I appreciate all the comments (even the puns!) regarding my post on the power steering/rack and pinion repair issues on my '97 Avalon. I had been very happy with my experience with the car, and knew that my experience was more the exception than the rule. I had also been stung early last summer with an $800+ repair bill for a failed air conditioning condenser unit (apparently it had a hole in it). I appreciate your comments regarding the repair options for my current issues, and what I might be able to target for repair costs. The dealer did offer that I could probably get the cost down $400 or $500 if I went with non-genuine parts. Normally, that isn't my style. I like to buy a quality car, then stay the course with the manufacturer's recommended service schedule and original parts.
As for the type of driving the car has been exposed to, there was little regular city driving. For the most part, it simply was driven a relatively short distance to work and back in fairly small towns that we've lived in. I did run through the Chicago area quite a few times to and from O'Hare, and granted, that can't be the best thing for any car.
Thanks for the tip on the NHTSA, I'm going there next. I'll follow your suggestions, get it repaired at a reasonable cost, and return to refining our strategy for our next vehicle that we've been looking for. We have an Odyssey van for our young family of six, but are strongly considering a second vehicle that can handle the whole bunch. I don't want another van, and I struggle with the poor mileage of the large SUVs and the lack of cargo space in the midsize SUVs -- not to mention the sticker shock from several of the options on the market. I've never had car payments, and I don't intend to start now.
I think the Highlander and the 4Runner are too small and narrow, and the Sequoia is too large, pricey and poor mileage. The Land Cruiser and LX470 are nice, but probably a little more steepeep than I want to get into with our young family. We've taken a long look at the MDX and Pilot, and there's a lot to offer -- with Pilot being the most reasonable price wise. The only shortcoming is the lack of cargo space.
I'd welcome any opinions about the best options in today's market for us. I'd like to make a decision in the next month or so.
Again, thanks for all the terrific feedback.
#16 of 67 Steering Rack
Dec 02, 2003 (8:32 pm)
Thanks for the feedback blackdog4. I wondered if Toyota might entertain an adjustment, because I still believe my experience is a bit rare. Toyota has a great reputation, and one way to preserve it is to take care customers, like they apparently did with you. The insights into what the charged you is very helpful. Thanks.
#17 of 67 Rack and relays...
Dec 02, 2003 (10:40 pm)
Bconsi-Toyo may offer some accommodation...Good Luck! It sounds like you won't do the work, so... If Toyo does not come through, Maval racks have a lifetime warranty, and saves ya' $$$ on the part ...then ask around, there is probably a real good independent guy who will save ya' on the install...get a referral.
danbeth-This may be beyond me. I did NOT see a "blower motor linear controller". This sounds like a "variable" resistor to change the fan speeds beyond the FOUR settings you can choose manually. What I do know is-Toyo has an A/C "amplifier" which is perhaps "SYMANTECS", for a part that offers the same necessary variations in resistance. This piece is below the A/C control panel, perhaps behind the ashetray in the center console, according to the Svc manual. Probably something you can grab a U-Pick-The-Parts yard for a few bucks???? That's the best I can do. I haven't had to do any real work on my A/C, but let me know, I'll try to help. -nomad56-
#18 of 67 Steering Rack
Dec 03, 2003 (2:35 pm)
nomad56 - Thanks for the suggestions. You're right, I'm not in a position to do the work myself. Aside from marginal mechanical skills, I've recently relocated, new job, 4 small children, etc. . . .
#19 of 67 bconsi - vehicle choice
Dec 04, 2003 (12:01 am)
If you need cargo space and seats for six at the same time your choices are limited to giant SUV or Odyssey size vans. MDX/Pilot will give about the same mpg as your Ody. A few more goodies available on the MDX and they are discounted now. There is no real difference in seating. The third row is small, though high school teens fit in the way back of my MDX. The Pilot has three seat belts in the third row while the MDX has two. The seat is the same width in both, within an inch or so.
#20 of 67 Avalon Maintenance - MDX - Pilot
Dec 04, 2003 (7:24 pm)
My apologies for leading everyone into a non-maintenance conversation. It's just that the repair issues with the Avalon occurred right as we have begun looking for something new. Thanks to fndlyfmrflyer for your comments regarding the MDX and Pilot. I originally looked at the MDX, and thought it might be a solid candidate. But, I have a hard time spending that much money without being a little more excited about the vehicle. As for the third seat, our oldest of four children is six -- so the Pilot or MDX should accommodate us for a good number of years. I liked the idea of a Sequoia orginally, but it just doesn't seem practical or luxurious enough for the money.
Just to qualify this as a maintenance post, I'm still refining my strategy for repairing the rack and power steering on my 97 Avalon. I first want to validate the dealer's diagnosis, and then find a reliable party to do the repairs at a reasonable cost. In the meantime, I'm closely monitoring my fluid levels!
#21 of 67 the rack replacement
Dec 05, 2003 (1:54 am)
Bconsi you can avert another rack replacement, all in all many rack replacements can be averted if indiviulas replaced the power steering fluid on an annual basis for, that matter if they use synthetic fluid can triple that change out, in most cars using a turkey baseter all that is needed to vacum out the fluid and replace most with tranny fluid done this little procedure adds longevity to a rack if any replacement at all for the life of the car. Noteworthy the manufacturers do not inform you to replace it because their intrested in replacing parts which can be big ticket items, some the more expensive german vehicles indicate a power steer fluid change. Hope this info helps out
#22 of 67 Toyota Part replacements/Steering Rack
Dec 05, 2003 (6:03 am)
Good comments. If you need Toyota parts and you can replace them yourself for the hood struts, you can buy alot of the parts on the web. Of particular note, Larry at www.brandsport.com is very knowlegeable and has been selling Toyota parts for years as very good prices. That may help you some with the cost.
Power steering replacement. Just want to make sure I am clear on this. Automatic Tranmission Synthetic fluid for the power steering rack??? Not brake fluid???? Just want to make sure.
For those of you who find the sprayers on the Avalon (00-present) not excellent, I discovered a little trick albeit time consuming. Notice the new Camry has the same sprayers ONLY now, the spray comes out in a fine mist, instead of two streams on each side. You can paint the new black ones or leave them black or get the same color and replace the old ones. It involves taking down the interior hood insulation. If you are not good with plastic, you will bust some of the clips that attach the interior insultaion but they are easy to replace. The nossles are a little tricky to get out but when compressed below (used a strong thin cord) they pop out. The thin (car wash) type of spray, covers much more of the front window instead of the stream, don't not scratch the window as much because everything is coating with fluid, and you use about 1/2 as much fluid. This is for those that constantly go through winter/salt/spray/dirt highway type driving. I found this very worthwhile, although initially painful. OEM look. You would not be able to tell as the only difference is the aperture hole where the spray comes out. Go the spray from www.paintscratch.com
"Feed the forum" with your good ideas.
#23 of 67 Power Steering Maintenance
Dec 08, 2003 (10:49 am)
Can any of you skilled out there provide some tips on Power Steering Maintenance. How often, ease of doing it yourself, fluid type, etc.